Saturday, June 21, 2008

Live Music Review: Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs, Newcastle Cluny, 17/06/08

This is the third time that I have seen Holly Golightly live and, as always, she was excellent. Unfortunately, after a late start (in fact, we waited so long for things to kick off that Weary Blues From Waiting came around twice on the background CD...but there are no complaints from me about that!), there were still only about 35 people there to see the spectacle; this was a shame, but it did lend a certain intimacy to the gig – an atmosphere that may well have been different with a larger audience.
My evening started out with sitting outside, Holly to my left, smoking, and a young girl in between us throwing up...things did not look promising! It ended with chatting to Holly and Dave after everyone else had gone, whilst waiting to give my friend, the booker, a lift home. I have been fortunate lately, to have met some great people and to actually have chance to chat with them at some length – Tift Merritt, Romi Mayes (I must get around that review!) and now Holly Golightly and Lawyer Dave.

I can tell you that the rider for this evening included: Jim Beam, Coke, seedless grapes, Braeburn apples and Budweiser...and I felt at some strange advantage knowing that Davey's pint of coke on stage was laced with bourbon!

'The Brokeoffs' is just one man, the aforementioned Lawyer Dave (who looks like a more handsome, more rough around the edges, long haired version of a young Michael J. Fox), who first appeared for the support slot, before returning to the stage with Ms Golightly. He is a formidable guitar player, switching between slide and picking, and accompanying himself with foot-controlled drum and cymbals – as well as singing. Very impressive co-ordination! He made a joke, when back on stage for round two, with he and Holly both on guitar, about playing the bass with, erm, a certain appendage on their next tour.

Just as important as the music tonight was the craic...these guys are relaxed and completely at ease with one another, and there were stories, jokes and anecdotes aplenty, from the toilets at a festival in Denmark (a trough!), via the tyre fire in New Jersey that hasn't gone out for 35 years, to the fact that the song Devil Do makes them the “goth wedding band of choice” (and a query about why goths say they want to drink blood when they are all vegetarian!). I reckon these guys would be great fun at a wedding, and would hang around getting pissed with the guests afterwards.

The signature Golightly plodding, Rockabilly stomp, the short, snappy songs, the resurrection of old, forgotten tunes amongst her originals and the inimitable sense of humour were all there – we had a warning song about Jaegermeister (“Wasted away on that medicine bottle and I can't remember my name”), one about “the time I broke Holly's left arm with my horse” (a hobby horse) and a song about Dave's imaginary friend who is pissed off with him (Jesus Don't Love Me Any More). There was also a discussion about Dave's first experience, being from Texas, of the Eurovision Song Contest – he liked the ice skating apparently!

Song highlights included You Can't Buy A Gun, Black Night (which I had no idea was not a Holly Golightly original until tonight – it was written by Jessie Mae Robinson, who never got to record it herself, in 1935. Mother Earth was another that I had no idea she did not write – apparently it is another song from “before electricity”) and the sweetest children's song about being afraid of the escalator. We also had the banned-in-America ditty with the lyrics “I let my daddy do that”, which showcased Golightly's Wanda Jackson-esque growl, and this was swiftly followed by a “domestic violence song” - we were definitely not in PC mode tonight!

In fact, we finished on another domestic violence that I had always presumed to be sweetly romantic before - “I want to hug you, kiss you, squeeze you til my arms fall off”. There was no encore on this occasion, or I was going to ask for Walk A Mile – I later found out that they haven't worked this song through together yet, so it's a good job I didn't, but I've been promised it for next time! All this and I haven't yet mentioned Holly's little curtsy with the applause after each song, or told those of you that might not be familiar with her yet about her work with Billy Childish and Thee Headcoatees, or her 14 albums. These are things you can, and should, find out for yourself. I would strongly recommend her album Truly She Is None Other as a starting point.

mp3: Black Night - Holly Golightly

mp3: You Can't Buy A Gun - Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs

Visit Holly's website or have a listen over at MySpace...then buy her albums!

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